City of White Salmon administrative staff is studying three citizen-initiated annexation proposals to determine their impacts and whether the city should accept them for processing.
A quorum of City Councilors Mark Peppel, Jason Sabourin, Bill Werst, and Allan Wolf received proposals – called Notices of Intent to Annexation – during its Sept. 18 meeting from Dry Creek Ranch, LLC, the Six S Company, and from residents in the Los Altos and White Salmon Estates subdivisions inside White Salmon’s urban growth area. By law, the city had 60 days from the date of filing to act on each proposal. Decisions on the applications are due by Nov. 8 (Dry Creek Ranch), Nov. 9 (Six S Company), and Nov. 10 (Los Altos/White Salmon Estates).
The City Council moved to accept the Six S Company petition for processing based on the recommendation of city staff, which advised it had completed nearly 75 percent of its impact analysis of the proposal. Based on the advice of City Attorney Ken Woodrich, though, the council opted not to accept the other proposals until it has received a report and recommendation from staff.
Woodrich told councilors the prudent thing to do is to give staff two to three weeks to complete its analysis of each proposal’s impacts and report back to council.
“Normally, you wouldn’t want to accept a notice of intent without having a staff analysis beforehand,” he noted. “This is the time you want to take a look at the initial proposal to ensure all the issues are addressed before people go out for signatures” to meet the 60 percent requirement. “You want to make sure you’ve edited the proposal so it has the greatest chance of success, then go out and get your signatures, and come back to the council with a firm proposal.”
Woodrich added for emphasis, “You, the council, need to understand what the impacts or effects [of each annexation proposal] will be before having to act.”
The petition from the Six S Company calls for the annexation of 63.83 acres of unincorporated property on both sides of NW Lincoln Street that is contiguous to the city limits. The motion to accept the notice of intent for annexation passed unanimously and included a condition that the property be zoned Single Family Large Lot Residential (RL) when annexed.
City councilors held off on the Dry Creek Ranch petition pending further information. The proposal for 53.22 acres of unincorporated land, according to a memorandum from City Administrator Patrick Munyan Jr. that was included in the council’s Sept. 18 meeting packet, “will create an island of two parcels in the county.” One parcel belongs to the City of Bingen, the other to a private party.
Munyan said staff would like additional time – before accepting, modifying, or rejecting the annexation petition – to gather more information and talk to Bingen officials “to determine if they would like to bring their parcel into the City of Bingen.” The private party, he continued, would have the option of petitioning Bingen for annexation. “Otherwise, staff would recommend modifying the boundaries to include [the private party’s] lot in the Dry Creek Annexation.”
The Los Altos/White Salmon Estates proposal, comprising 86.64 acres, is based in large part on the former Teague Notice of Intent to Annexation filed in 2007 but never acted on by the city. The subject area, according to Munyan, was analyzed in an initial staff report to the council presented in November 2012.